Senior Kenyan officials, judges facing extradition to US over drugs charges
Senior Kenyan officials, judges facing extradition to US over drugs charges: A former senior official in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, a number of judges and several government officials are facing extradition to the United States on drugs-related charges.
Sources said Wednesday the US government has already made the Kenyan government aware of its intention to charge the suspects in US courts, which means Nairobi could in the coming days hand over the suspects to American security officials.
The suspects, who also include a prominent city lawyer, were named during court proceedings in the US by former Mombasa-based drug lords Baktash and Ibrahim Akasha, who also confessed to bribing officials in Kenya, Tanzania and other countries to ensure their drugs moved across borders without scrutiny.
A senior government official, whom the Nation is not naming because of the sensitivity of the matter, said “the lawyer ferried bribes to several individuals in the criminal justice system to ensure the Akasha brothers never set foot in an American court over drug trafficking charges”.
The Akasha brothers are accused of using extreme violence, murder and bribery to protect their turf.
They are said to have planned the murder of a South African gangster, only identified as Pinky, just to show how far they were willing to go to become the biggest drug peddlers in these parts of the world.
The extraditions could be made as early as next month once American and Kenyan investigators tie up the loose ends on evidence based on the contents of the plea bargain between the Akasha brothers and the US justice system.
Baktash will be sentenced Friday by the Southern District of New York Court and Ibrahim on November 8 after they confessed to the charges against them.
The arrests of senior Kenyan officials could, however, be made sooner than initially planned due to the renewed war on drug trafficking on the country’s Coast that was prompted by last week’s attacks in Bamburi, Mombasa.
“This matter has been talked about for a long time. I honestly think Kenyans would not want to hear threats and promises from me but results.
‘‘And I promise they will see results,” Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned before police swooped in on the coastal town.
However, even as Dr Matiang’i talked tough, it was not lost on many that Kenya has in the past demonstrated general unwillingness to extradite citizens sought by other countries.
Meanwhile, Kenyan law enforcement agencies are preparing to seek international assistance to have tycoons Humphrey Kariuki and Ali Punjani extradited to Kenya to face charges of tax evasion and drug trafficking, respectively.
By Wednesday morning, detectives in Kenya had traced Mr Kariuki to London and Mr Punjani to India.
Mr Punjani is undergoing treatment, according to his lawyers. From London, Mr Kariuki has, through his lawyers Schillings International LLP, denied that he is a director at Africa Spirits Limited, the firm at the centre of tax evasion charges.
“While Janus Continental Group’s Mr Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa is a venture investor in Africa Spirits Limited (ASL), he holds no directorial, executive, managerial or operational responsibility in whatsoever capacity in ASL,” the lawyers wrote in an email to the Nation. “Africa Spirits Limited is not, and has never been, part of the Janus Continental Group.”
Janus Continental Group is a conglomerate owned by the businessman that operates, among other ventures, The Hub in Karen, Dalbit Petroleum and Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club.
On Wednesday, Janus Continental Group said Mr Kariuki had stepped down as chair of the board. “Humphrey Kariuki explained that this will allow him to focus his efforts on challenging the claims in the courts,” said a statement signed by Ms Hellen Akello, the company’s chief human resource Officer.
By VINCENT ACHUKA and By BRIAN WASUNA